Thoughts on this 2015 Rockwall ISD Bond Proposition and the Concept of Representative Government

18 October 2015 ADelection_2015_-_school_bond_graphic

REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT has historically denoted a system in which people elect their lawmakers (representatives), who are then held accountable to them for their activity within government. Representative government, or the “republican form,” as it is also known, has been widely accepted as the only practicable form of democracy. –

As noted above, representative government is “the only practicable form of democracy”. Oligarchies, aristocracies, monarchies and plutocracies are inherently tyrannical in that they are rule by a minority over a majority.

But, it may be said the bond committee or the school board of trustees has possession of knowledge not readily available to the general public. If true, then either or both have failed fiduciary duty to voters. Consider the wisdom of founding father Thomas Jefferson.

I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” –Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820. ME 15:278

The 2015 School Bond Committee is no substitute for “the people themselves.”

Yes, the Superintendent and his staff have done a marvelous job of marketing this election. Yes, Mr. Bailey very cleverly paid a lot of our tax dollars to set up additional mobile voting sites that will be open until 8:00 PM to facilitate capturing the votes of poorly informed parents; scheduling those sites to coincide with planned school activities further underscores his cleverness. Yes, Mr. Bailey has garnered the financial and promotional support of the Rockwall Chamber of Commerce and the Metrotex Association of Realtors, but as I point out, this is a form of tyranny. Most significantly Superintendent Bailey has the full support of the board of trustees who voted unanimously to approve the bond proposition. In case a trustee were to say otherwise, find below an excerpt from trustees meeting of June 15, 2015

Dana Macalik and Travis King, members of the 2015 Bond Committee shared information with the Board regarding the Bond Committee’s final results. The purpose of the 60 member Bond Committee was to collaborative development of a bond package recommendation for presentation to the Board of Trustees and ultimately to the Rockwall ISD Community in November 2015. The Bond Committee’s final recommendation to the Board of Trustees was a Bond Package of $256,816,104.

Upon a motion from Mr. Cuny and a second from Mrs. Plagens, the Board voted 6 to 0 to approve the Bond Committee’s recommendation to call for a bond election in November 2015 for a total of $256,816,104. (Jon Bailey Absent) [link to minutes:]

Costly glossy brochures projecting an “impact on taxpayers less than $10 per month” are misleading. That $10 debt retirement cost does not reflect the true long-term cost of maintenance and operations. In consultations with two gentlemen in our district who know finance far better than I do, I hear from one the true cost over the life of the debt to be in excess of $726 million, the other projects over $1.2 billion.

While I may be jousting political windmills, I continue to urge Rockwall ISD voters to vote Against (En Contra) this record bond proposition until the last vote is counted. In the world of accountability this election should come back next year to a fully-informed body of voters.

sample ballot risd bond election marked up

For the record, my property tax is frozen, as it is for all property owners 65 years of age and older. My opposition does not serve to minimize my personal tax liabilities, but to minimize the tax liabilities of the Rockwall ISD students who will be the persons bearing this enormous debt on their own backs.

John White​
29-year resident of Rockwall, Texas

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